In Algeria, Sarkozy Denounces Colonialism

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President Nicolas Sarkozy of France began a three-day visit to Algeria on Monday, denouncing colonialism as “profoundly unjust” but stopping short of apologizing for the atrocities France was accused of committing there.

“Yes, the colonial system was profoundly unjust, contrary to the three founding words of our Republic: freedom, equality, brotherhood,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

But he steered clear of bending to Algerian demands to say he was sorry for atrocities that French troops and settlers were accused of committing during the North African country’s bitter and bloody war of independence, from 1954 to 1962.

Mr. Sarkozy said “terrible crimes” were committed on both sides throughout the war with numerous victims, whom he said he wished to honor.

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